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The EU Commission's Microsoft Decision
Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 07:03 AM EST

Here is the European Commission's press release about their decision in the Microsoft investigation.

In a nutshell, here's what they say they did wrong:

"Microsoft abused its market power by deliberately restricting interoperability between Windows PCs and non-Microsoft work group servers, and by tying its Windows Media Player (WMP), a product where it faced competition, with its ubiquitous Windows operating system. . . .

"The ongoing abuses act as a brake on innovation and harm the competitive process and consumers, who ultimately end up with less choice and facing higher prices."

They have 120 days to "disclose to competitors the interfaces required for their products to be able to 'talk' with the ubiquitous Windows OS" and 90 days to "offer a version of its Windows OS without Windows Media Player". There is also a fine of € 497 million ($612 million) "for abusing its market power in the EU".

Mercury News has some key dates in the EU investigation. Microsoft is fighting back. Microsoft attorney Brad Smith says the EU Commission ruling infringes Microsoft's IP rights and flies in the face of the EU's copyright obligations:

"Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith said on Wednesday the European Commission's decision amounted to a 'compulsory licence' of the firm's intellectual property rights within Europe. 'We believe that will infringe our IP rights in Europe and it also violates the international treaty obligations pursuant to its (the EU's) membership of the WTO (World Trade Organisation),' he told a conference call."

Evidently, they believe IP rights trump everything.

************************************

IP/04/382

Brussels, 24 March 2004

Commission concludes on Microsoft investigation, imposes conduct remedies and a fine

The European Commission has concluded, after a five-year investigation, that Microsoft Corporation broke European Union competition law by leveraging its near monopoly in the market for PC operating systems (OS) onto the markets for work group server operating systems (1) and for media players(2). Because the illegal behaviour is still ongoing, the Commission has ordered Microsoft to disclose to competitors, within 120 days, the interfaces(3) required for their products to be able to 'talk' with the ubiquitous Windows OS. Microsoft is also required, within 90 days, to offer a version of its Windows OS without Windows Media Player to PC manufacturers (or when selling directly to end users). In addition, Microsoft is fined € 497 million for abusing its market power in the EU.

"Dominant companies have a special responsibility to ensure that the way they do business doesn't prevent competition on the merits and does not harm consumers and innovation " said European Competition Commissioner Mario Monti. "Today's decision restores the conditions for fair competition in the markets concerned and establish clear principles for the future conduct of a company with such a strong dominant position," he added.

After an exhaustive and extensive investigation of more than five years and three statements of objections(4), the Commission has today taken a decision finding that US software company Microsoft Corporation has violated the EU Treaty's competition rules by abusing its near monopoly(5) (Article 82) in the PC operating system.

Microsoft abused its market power by deliberately restricting interoperability between Windows PCs and non-Microsoft work group servers, and by tying its Windows Media Player (WMP), a product where it faced competition, with its ubiquitous Windows operating system.

This illegal conduct has enabled Microsoft to acquire a dominant position in the market for work group server operating systems, which are at the heart of corporate IT networks, and risks eliminating competition altogether in that market. In addition, Microsoft's conduct has significantly weakened competition on the media player market.

The ongoing abuses act as a brake on innovation and harm the competitive process and consumers, who ultimately end up with less choice and facing higher prices.

For these very serious abuses, which have been ongoing for five and a half years, the Commission has imposed a fine of € 497.2 million.

Remedies

In order to restore the conditions of fair competition, the Commission has imposed the following remedies:

As regards interoperability, Microsoft is required, within 120 days, to disclose complete and accurate interface documentation which would allow non-Microsoft work group servers to achieve full interoperability with Windows PCs and servers. This will enable rival vendors to develop products that can compete on a level playing field in the work group server operating system market. The disclosed information will have to be updated each time Microsoft brings to the market new versions of its relevant products.

To the extent that any of this interface information might be protected by intellectual property in the European Economic Area(6), Microsoft would be entitled to reasonable remuneration. The disclosure order concerns the interface documentation only, and not the Windows source code, as this is not necessary to achieve the development of interoperable products.

As regards tying, Microsoft is required, within 90 days, to offer to PC manufacturers a version of its Windows client PC operating system without WMP. The un-tying remedy does not mean that consumers will obtain PCs and operating systems without media players. Most consumers purchase a PC from a PC manufacturer which has already put together on their behalf a bundle of an operating system and a media player. As a result of the Commission's remedy, the configuration of such bundles will reflect what consumers want, and not what Microsoft imposes.

Microsoft retains the right to offer a version of its Windows client PC operating system product with WMP. However, Microsoft must refrain from using any commercial, technological or contractual terms that would have the effect of rendering the unbundled version of Windows less attractive or performing. In particular, it must not give PC manufacturers a discount conditional on their buying Windows together with WMP.

The Commission believes the remedies will bring the antitrust violations to an end, that they are proportionate, and that they establish clear principles for the future conduct of the company.

To ensure effective and timely compliance with this decision, the Commission will appoint a Monitoring Trustee, which will, inter alia, oversee that Microsoft's interface disclosures are complete and accurate, and that the two versions of Windows are equivalent in terms of performance.

The investigation

In December 1998, Sun Microsystems, another US company, complained that Microsoft had refused to provide interface information necessary for Sun to be able to develop products that would "talk" properly with the ubiquitous Windows PCs, and hence be able to compete on an equal footing in the market for work group server operating systems.

The Commission's investigation revealed that Sun was not the only company that had been refused this information, and that these non-disclosures by Microsoft were part of a broader strategy designed to shut competitors out of the market.

This relegated to a secondary position competition in terms of reliability, security and speed, among other factors, and ensured Microsoft's success on the market. As a result, an overwhelming majority of customers informed the Commission that Microsoft's non-disclosure of interface information artificially altered their choice in favour of Microsoft's server products. Survey responses submitted by Microsoft itself confirmed the link between the interoperability advantage that Microsoft reserved for itself and its growing market shares.

In 2000, the Commission enlarged its investigation, on its own initiative, to study the effects of the tying of Microsoft's Windows Media Player with the company's Windows 2000 PC operating system.

This part of the investigation concluded that the ubiquity which was immediately afforded to WMP as a result of it being tied with the Windows PC OS artificially reduces the incentives of music, film and other media companies, as well software developers and content providers to develop their offerings to competing media players.

As a result, Microsoft's tying of its media player product has the effect of foreclosing the market to competitors, and hence ultimately reducing consumer choice, since competing products are set at a disadvantage which is not related to their price or quality.

Available data already show a clear trend in favour of WMP and Windows Media technology. Absent intervention from the Commission, the tying of WMP with Windows is likely to make the market "tip" definitively in Microsoft's favour. This would allow Microsoft to control related markets in the digital media sector, such as encoding technology, software for broadcasting of music over the Internet and digital rights management etc.

More generally, the Commission is concerned that Microsoft's tying of WMP is an example of a more general business model which, given Microsoft's virtual monopoly in PC operating systems, deters innovation and reduces consumer choice in any technologies which Microsoft could conceivably take interest in and tie with Windows in the future.

Note to editors

The European Commission enforces EU competition rules on restrictive business practices and abuses of monopoly power for the whole of the European Union when cross-border trade and competition are affected.

The Commission has the power to force changes in company behaviour and to impose financial penalties for antitrust violations of up to 10% of their annual turnover worldwide.

Commission decisions can be appealed to the European Court of First Instance in Luxembourg.

(1) These are operating systems running on central network computers that provide services to office workers around the world in their day-to-day work such as file and printer sharing, security and user identity management.

(2) A media player is a software product that is able to play back music and video content over the Internet.

(3) The interfaces do not concern the Windows source code as this is not necessary to achieve the development of interoperable products. The interfaces are the hooks at the edge of the source code which allow one product to talk to another.

(4) A Statement of Objections marks the opening of a formal investigation as the Commission states its charges or objections to the company(ies) concerned.

(5) Microsofts operating systems equip more than 95% of the worlds personal computers.

(6) The European Union plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.


  


The EU Commission's Microsoft Decision | 438 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Updates Here Please
Authored by: PJ on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 07:20 AM EST
If you have updates and urls to add to this story, please put them in this
thread, so everyone can find them quickly.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The EU Commission's Microsoft Decision
Authored by: nvanevski on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 07:21 AM EST
Hey, where did they get the 95% number?

[ Reply to This | # ]

URL needs fixing
Authored by: toolboxnz on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 07:23 AM EST
Neither the tinyurl or the full one work. I get an error
message saying "Uncomplete CGI statement: missing the 'lg'
parameter."

[ Reply to This | # ]

The EU Commission's Microsoft Decision
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 07:38 AM EST
Does this mean that other groups like SaMBa and perhaps MySQL now have rights
with respect to development of their Windows interoperability products as well?


CPW
IANAL - thank god!

[ Reply to This | # ]

The EU Commission's Microsoft Decision
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 07:38 AM EST
I just went to the FOSE trade show in Washington, D.C. Looking around all we
found was a big Microsoft exhibit, HP,Sun, Apple, and Adobe. What was missing
were vendors with all kinds of neat software like Corel, Symantec, Lotus and
lots of interesting products. Microsoft's monopoly has gobbled up and drivin
off the innovation in ADP. My son is to graduate from Carnegie Mellon in May.
He says the computure science majors are way down. His fellow students say
there is no future of interest in computer science anymore. This what you get
with a monopoly that has killed the opportunity for innovation. Open source is
one of the few places you can actually develop new ideas into real operating
programs and have a chance.

The EU has done what the politicians, Justice Department, and the Government has
failed to do, that is they have controlled an out of control monopoly. Three
cheers to EU for their long overdue action.
k

[ Reply to This | # ]

Good gravy, I was right
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 07:43 AM EST
There is nothing in this remedy that prevents Microsoft from offering XP-sans-MP
for exactly the same price as XP-with-MP. They just can't charge *more* for
it.

Want to take bets on how many OEMs will opt to buy XP-sans-MP for the same price
as XP-with-MP and then have to pay extra to bundle a media player with it?

Nope, didn't think so.

[ Reply to This | # ]

What if they say no?
Authored by: superluser on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 07:56 AM EST
What happens if Microsoft lets the 90 day deadline pass and they don't offer a
version without WMP?

What if they release the compatibility data under a Shared Source license?

Where can they appeal (and how many times) for certiorari?

[ Reply to This | # ]

The EU Commission's Microsoft Decision
Authored by: pointwood on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 07:59 AM EST

IMHO, the most interesting part is not the requirement to separate WMP from Windows - I actually find that a bit stupid - just like separating IE.
What is interesting is this:

As regards interoperability, Microsoft is required, within 120 days, to disclose complete and accurate interface documentation which would allow non-Microsoft work group servers to achieve full interoperability with Windows PCs and servers. This will enable rival vendors to develop products that can compete on a level playing field in the work group server operating system market. The disclosed information will have to be updated each time Microsoft brings to the market new versions of its relevant products.

Together with the $52 billion (isn't that MS's got in the bank) question: Under what terms? If they have to make them freely available to everyone, then great! If they are allowed to add some sort of RAND license, then it will most likely hinder open source software from using it.

---
Pointwood
JabberID: Pointwood@jabber.shd.dk

[ Reply to This | # ]

I love it!
Authored by: JeR on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 07:59 AM EST
Thanks PJ. I loved this bit:

As regards interoperability, Microsoft is required, within 120 days, to disclose complete and accurate interface documentation which would allow non-Microsoft work group servers to achieve full interoperability with Windows PCs and servers. This will enable rival vendors to develop products that can compete on a level playing field in the work group server operating system market. The disclosed information will have to be updated each time Microsoft brings to the market new versions of its relevant products.

Let's hope that even when Microsoft wins the unavoidable appeal (even in part), the first remedy will stand. I'd very much like the open source community (and anyone else for that matter) to have access to the full Windows networking interface documentation

[ Reply to This | # ]

interfaces
Authored by: phrostie on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 08:04 AM EST
"the Commission has ordered Microsoft to disclose to competitors, within
120 days, the interfaces(3) required for their products to be able to 'talk'
with the ubiquitous Windows OS."

does the EU Commission consider Wine to be a competitor?
what licence restrictions may MS place on the APIs.

this sounds a lot like one of the US remidies, but the licence restrictions MS
placed on the API documentation was unacceptable to most FOSS projects. FOSS
will be the last competitor to MS.

---
=====
phrostie
Oh I have slipped the surly bonds of DOS
and danced the skies on Linux silvered wings.
http://www.freelists.org/webpage/snafuu

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • interfaces - Authored by: davcefai on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 02:45 PM EST
    • interfaces - Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, March 25 2004 @ 02:01 AM EST
All this over WMP?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 08:10 AM EST
I might buy this if it were over something other than WMP. Who exactly has MS
been keeping out of the market?

Real? No way - no one uses their product because it is spyware garbage. Apple
Quicktime? Apple doesn't need any help, Quicktime is widely adopted.

No, to me this looks like anti-American sentiment masquerading as enforcement of
competition law.

Thanks,
Cecil

[ Reply to This | # ]

Needed: Rx for Monti's Revenge
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 08:12 AM EST
The Wall Street Journal has an article in today's,
Wednesday 24 March 2004, paper titled:

Needed: Rx for Monti's Revenge
by Holman W. Jenkins Jr.
www.politicaldairy.com
Subscription required for on line readers
In paper: on page A21 Top Right.

Simply put the essence of the article is:
1. MS is right [correct]; Europe is wrong.
2. Europe is going to be left behind by not being able to
participate in new technology.
3. That "when Mr. Monti talks about lending a hand to
computation, he means leading a hand to competitors, who
can be readily identified by the lobbyists swarming around
him and uttering flattery and advice."
4. "The EU doesn't yet pretend that its enforcers are
anything other than policy makers throwing their weight
around. Not only are companies entitled to challenge Mr.
Monti's decision in court, but they're entitled to seek
damages when he unjustifiably deprives business owners of
rights to dispense their product as they see fit."

Not only has this fool no knowledge of what Microsoft but
he firmly believes is Microsoft concepts of world
domination. His statements and actions leave open a very
important question: "Is this fool being paid off by
Microsoft to spout out such nonsense or is he really this
stupid?"

Now this would not be of major importance except that Mr.
Jenkins edits The Wall Street's "Political Diary" which
explains why one member of the main stream press is so pro
SCOX.

Posted by Anonymous in violation of the new Gorklaw
posting policy.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Reasonable renumeration
Authored by: Azriel on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 08:30 AM EST
The ruling seems to be in line with earlier materials (published by The
Economist in 2002).

FFII's (Foundation for Free Information Infrastructure) website has materials
concerning this at:

http://swpat.ffii.org/news/04/cecms0202/index.en.html

As much as I hate to spoil the jubilant atmosphere, "reasonable
renumeration" is even weaker than "reasonable and non-discriminatory
fee" mentioned in the first draft. There seems to be a real rish that
free/open source projects will be excluded from the equation here.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Samba needing specifications
Authored by: Tantris on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 08:47 AM EST
I wouldn't worry too much about Samba needing documentation. I believe it has
been said that Samba knows more about M$'s implementation of SMB than M$ does.
From what I remember, they actually have comments in Samba about bugs in the M$
implementation. I can try to find this, but I believe Samba even wrote that if
it was used only with other Samba machines, that you can run it at a much more
efficient level. I haven't looked at this stuff for a long time, does anyone
know anything more recent about this?

[ Reply to This | # ]

The EU Commission's Microsoft Decision
Authored by: DFJA on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 08:49 AM EST
Well as I suspected, the remedy will have very little detrimental effect on
Microsoft's ambitions, even if they don't appeal. They will find ways of obeying
the letter of the law, without obeying the spirit of the law.

I think what would really make a difference to them is for the EU to ban the use
of _all_ Microsoft products where the purchase comes out of public taxation. The
trend among governments to consider requiring Open Source software is of course
a step on the way (and well discussed elsewhere), but this would make it no
longer optional.

However such a policy should be implemented by making it a requirement that no
public money should be spent in a way that knowingly benefits any company that
has been convicted of anti-competitive practices, for a period of say 15 years
after such a conviction. This would widen the scope from just one company to any
that is potentially going to be involved in supplying to government, and not
just in IT infrastructure. This would in the long term give companies a strong
incentive not to be anti-competitive, or at least not to get caught being
anti-competitive.


The only trouble is....

.....it will take the EU at least 15 years to implement such legislation.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Reasonable renumeration - how to make a FOSS Linux operable
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 09:02 AM EST
"To the extent that any of this interface information might be protected
... Microsoft would be entitled to reasonable remuneration."

Does anybody have a solution to this problem. Can IBM purchase a license and
make this freely available to all of Linux, or only to IBM. If the later, we
would have a balkanization of multiple proprietary interfaces to interoperate
with Microsoft.

Ideas anyone??

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why was IE not treated like WMP?
Authored by: DrHow on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 09:12 AM EST
I am surprised that the bundling aspect of this decision only applied to the
media player. Does anyone understand why the EU would not have tried to force
MS to unbundle their Web browser as well? (I am guessing that MS may now be
able to argue successfully that the browser really has become an integrated
component of the OS; and I would be interested in a confirmation of this if
true. Not that I really buy it.)

[ Reply to This | # ]

The EU commission is not anti-american. See their case log:
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 09:14 AM EST

Some people seem to be taking an intellectual shortcut and write off the Microsoft decision as an action of an anti-american EU Commission.

Take a look at the commission's log of antitrust cases and you will find the overwhelming majority are against european companies.

Here are the companies involved in the antitrust investigations for the last few months:

  • Mar 12: T-Mobile Deutschland
  • Mar 1: QSC AG / Deutsche Telekom AG
  • Feb 12: La Poste
  • Jan 5: Telenor, Canal+
  • Dec 19: Telia
  • Dec 16: British Sky Broadcasting
  • Dec 16: Outokumpu, KME-group and Wieland Werke
  • Dec 10: British Airways, Iberia, GB Airways
  • Dec 9: Air France, Alitalia
  • Dec 3: Carbone Lorraine, SGL, Schunk, and two other companies
  • Nov 29: Ewe Tel 5, DT Deutschland
  • Nov 29: Deutsche Telekom

Notice the anti-american pattern? </sarcasm> Several of the above decisions include fines well exceeding €100M, all against european companies.

/Björn

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft Needs You
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 09:47 AM EST
What is the Freedom to Innovate Network?

We formed the Freedom to Innovate Network (FIN) as a response to the overwhelming amount of correspondence we received from around the U.S. and overseas regarding the trial with the Department of Justice and other public policy issues. The FIN is a non-partisan, grassroots network of citizens and businesses who have a stake in the success of Microsoft and the high-tech industry. The FIN will help you stay up to date on critical developments in public policy. Sign up for a free e-newsletter, tell us your thoughts, take action and stay informed. It's how you can make a difference!

From the FAQ:

Q: Why is it important that I join the Freedom to Innovate Network?
Public officials must hear from constituents like you. As they consider new legislation and regulation, which could severely impact Microsoft and the technology industry, it's important that you express your views. The FIN will provide you with the tools necessary to help your opinion be heard!
Q: Do I have to agree with every position FIN takes?
No. As a member, you can use the facts to make informed decisions of your own and communicate them to public officials in the manner you choose.
Please, won't you help?

(sorry if this was pointed out before)

[ Reply to This | # ]

$608million US dollars
Authored by: k12linux on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 10:30 AM EST
According to the currency converter at Yahoo, 497 million EU = $605,843,008.00

---
- k12linux

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Yes, well... - Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 12:40 PM EST
Renumeration
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 10:40 AM EST
The requirement to disclosure interface documentation is fine and dandy, but
what will MS (or the EU) consider to be "reasonable renumeration".
This is the sting. Reasonable to big software houses such as IBM, Sun or Novell
(presumably under non-disclosure), or reasonable to me and others as individual
or small team open source developers? I don't think that Commissioner Monti has
even thought (or is aware) of the latter.

I don't want to see Windows source, thanks, and believe MS have a right to keep
it closed, but its interface specs, such as for network protocols and the NTFS,
should be open documents. The whole purpose of an interface is to allow other
software, such as networking and middleware, to work with the system, and the
only reason to conceal it is to deter others writing such software, thus keeping
it in-house. With MS only obliged to reveal the specs for money, the deterrence
which the Commissioner meant to remove is still significantly intact.

[ Reply to This | # ]

way OT - Yahoo Stock charts...
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 10:41 AM EST
Has anyone else seen this:

Go to yahoo quotes page for a stock - like SCO for example

http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?s=SCOX&t=1d

and then refresh a couple of times - does the chart jump all over the place for
you?

The whole thing changes each time I refresh - is this just me?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Compulsory Licenses ARE NOT ILLEGAL!!
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 10:42 AM EST
I believe these are not illegal as they have been in force in the recording
industry for years. In fact, it is enacted in Statutory Law, so the govt must
feel that there are at least some situations where compulsory licensing is
beneficial to society.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compulsory_licensing

[ Reply to This | # ]

Where does the money from the fine go?
Authored by: Dan Lewis on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 10:46 AM EST

This might be a stupid question, but if MS ever paid the fine, who would get the money and how? Would it be split up among EU nations? Go to the EU-level bureacracy? Go to the MS competitors who were hurt by abuses?

Along the same lines, does this give Sun et al. any leverage to sue MS in European markets? Assuming MS loses on appeal, etc.

(And forgive me if I could have found out somewhere else, I did read the articles)

[ Reply to This | # ]

The first clues to MS's counterattack
Authored by: tcranbrook on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 10:58 AM EST
There is an article on The Register, Windows ruling is biggest IP heist in EU history, claims MS. It outlines what MS is planning to do.
    According to Smith, Microsoft has 70 days to file its appeal with the European court of first instance, and is likely to ask for a stay in the Commission's remedies at about the same time. The Commission's remedies, he claims, are a "broad compulsory licensing of our copyrights," interfere with Microsoft's rights to "create adaptations and derivatives" under European copyright law, and are the "broadest compulsory licensing of intellectual property rights since the foundation of the European Union." They also violate Europe's international treaty obligations with reference to the World Trade Organisation and trade aspects of intellectual property rights, he claims.

It seems they are going to base their appeal on IP base arguments. Perhaps the MS lawyers IP law not only as a defense against Linux and FLOSS, but also a defense against legal sanctions for governments. One interesting twist is the use of Trademarks to justify illegal behavior.

    Under this interpretation the WMP-free version of Windows "is not Windows" (i.e. not WindowsTM). "Windows today is a state of the art operating system for state of the art PCs", and Windows lite will be an inferior version foisted on Microsoft and the world by the interfering Commission.

[ Reply to This | # ]

European view of Americans? && Open Source to the Rescue
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 10:59 AM EST

Over the years, watching the BBC and others like Deutche Welle, I've gathered the impression that Americans have come off as being arrogant and self centered. It doesn't help the situation that when you watch a news program here, it barely mentions world events, even when they are on a large scale. For example, if you mentioned the recent oil spill off of the coast of Spain, you'd hear a "huh?"

The point I'm trying to make is that Americans are already viewed as getting away with everything and acting without even considering others' ideas. This senator clamoring for President Bush to overturn the ruling is rediculous and will only help to reinforce the idea that Americans have no regard for others.

As witnessed by Groklaw, Microsoft is facing action in Minesota as well. This should be a strong hint that maybe, perhaps, it just might be that Microsoft does not operate honestly and count on their "better" proprietary products to acquire new business. I'm sure others have seen Microsoft kill off Be Incorporated and severely hinder the development of a wonderful OS called BeOS, a lightweight, yet very powerful multimedia oriented OS. (My P-200 mmx w/ 32MB RAM never saw so much graphics power) When Be Inc. was trying to distribute this OS preinstalled on computers, Microsoft basically told the PC distributors that they could if they wanted, ship systems with BeOS pre-installed, but that they would subsequently jack up the cost of the microsoft licenses (which accounted for almost all the systems shipped) to around $500-$1000 each for some pseudo-reason I can't remember. The real reason being, of course, to make sure no one ever got to try BeOS and then wonder why they ever used a POS called windows.

Fortunately after Be Inc. split up, one of the programmers who worked on the Be kernel made his own, and without drawing on the IP that now belongs to PalmOne or whatever Palm is these days, he made his own kernel/OS called NewOS with prototypes running on x86 and SEGA Dreamcast. Another group, OpenBeOS , has responded by incorporating NewOS into what will be a fully BeOS compatible OS to prevent such a lean, yet beefy OS, from being eliminated and forgotten

So how can somebody, after seeing all that Microsoft has done, turn a blind eye and allow them to carry on? It boggles my mind that a US Senator would encourage the President to "engage" the EU as if they were our enemy! EU members sent troops to Iraq to die in support of us. I suppose it's one of those things where Microsoft the state of Washington is trying to protect it's income interests.

As an American, I would like to apologize on behalf of everyone else in this country who feels the same way about our sometimes two-faced politicians. Hopefully Groklaw and its patrons will be a window showing the world how honest and decent people try to combat such deciept and ill will.

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT: Redhat
Authored by: phrostie on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 11:15 AM EST
there is news out about Redhats business being up alot from this time last year.
this has pushed RHAT up 2.00 from yesterdays close. compare this to SCOX being
0.02 up from yesterdays close.

[disclaimer]
i do not use redhat(i'm a debian guy) or own any of the stock. but this makes a
good indicator of public perception.
[/disclaimer]

it helps to have REAL and WILLING customers, and people are starting to take
notice.

---
=====
phrostie
Oh I have slipped the surly bonds of DOS
and danced the skies on Linux silvered wings.
http://www.freelists.org/webpage/snafuu

[ Reply to This | # ]

*WHICH* "IP rights?"
Authored by: overshoot on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 11:24 AM EST
Mercury News has some key dates in the EU investigation. Microsoft is fighting back. Microsoft attorney Brad Smith says the EU Commission ruling infringes Microsoft's IP rights and flies in the face of the EU's copyright obligations:
"Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith said on Wednesday the European Commission's decision amounted to a 'compulsory licence' of the firm's intellectual property rights within Europe. 'We believe that will infringe our IP rights in Europe and it also violates the international treaty obligations pursuant to its (the EU's) membership of the WTO (World Trade Organisation),' he told a conference call."
Evidently, they believe IP rights trump everything.

Still no answer: which "IP rights" is everyone talking about here? How does disclosure "amount[ed] to a 'compulsory licence' of the firm's intellectual property rights within Europe?"

All parties to this affair seem unwilling to actually specify the nature of these oh-so-precious "intellectual properties." Maybe it's because doing so would be an admission that the Emperor has no clothes?

  • Is Microsoft afraid of disclosing their trademarks?
  • Is Microsoft afraid of disclosing their patents?
  • Is Microsoft banking on a SCO-ish "copyrighted interface technology?"
  • That leaves trade secrets. The EC seems to think that MS could license their trade secret interfaces to their competitors for suitable consideration -- personally I have a hard time with the idea of a legally-sanctioned trade secret shared among competitors.
I'm beginning to think that the EC is headed towards the kind of deal that the DOJ arranged in the USA, where MS can attach contractual strings (think SCO "confidential derivative works" without AT&T's good faith) to telling others that they use Kerberos for authentication.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft's response
Authored by: ericl on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 11:33 AM EST
As has been proven time and again, Microsoft will delay delay delay, at least
until Longhorn comes out. Here's what they'll do, I bet:
-appeal verdict (2004)
-appeal fine (2005)
-go to World Court for action (2006)
-appeal World Court decision (2007)
-appeal World Court fine (2008)
-water down any fines all the way down
-finally, if forced to, pay fines in copies of Windows XP and Microsoft office
to education and governments (at retail prices); MS' version of funny money.

I don't think you'll see one red cent out of Microsoft, as they've shown with
the US cases, or if they eventually do, they'll hide it in the form of rebates.
Since 90 cents out of every dollar is profit for Microsoft, they could easily
pay it if it meant continuing with their business practices. The only thing that
really scares Microsoft I think is the GPL.

[ Reply to This | # ]

A Timeline for The EU Commission's Microsoft Decision
Authored by: tcranbrook on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 11:36 AM EST
There's a useful timeline for the EU investigation here. It covers from Feb 2002 to now. Its very brief, but perhaps we could flesh it out a bit

[ Reply to This | # ]

IP Rights
Authored by: dmscvc123 on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 11:39 AM EST
Unlike real property rights, intellectual property rights are not absolute. If
Microsoft bases their appeal on that, they're up for an uphill battle.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • IP Rights - Authored by: zcat on Thursday, March 25 2004 @ 05:44 AM EST
Microsoft Decision
Authored by: icebarron on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 12:02 PM EST
We should now start recruiting for a International Thought Police Organization
hereafter refered to as ITPO.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Interesting gap
Authored by: cheros on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 12:06 PM EST
I note with interest the apparent difficulty in excluding a non essential
Windows component (the Media Player) versus producing a 'lite' version as sold
in Thailand because the country refused to fork out the equivalent of a workers'
annual wages for the same product minus some insignificant bits.

I remember a certain earlier version of Windows where the difference between
desktop and server version was exactly one (1) byte, but the price difference
was not quite that small.

I wished their "freedom to innovate" actually referred to technology
and security instead of their legal tactics. I'm firmly convinced that if they
actually tried to become a community player instead of a market predator they
would not only preserve their revenue stream, they would also remove the risk
they expose their investors to by all those legal battles and the drain it poses
on the corporate coffers (and lessen the need to market their way around the
loss of customer faith it creates).

It's a matter of attitude. If you're that cash rich, why (for instance) did the
Stacker case have to happen at all?

However, judging by the current management style I think pigs might fly first.
Shame.

* C *

BTW: as a bonus investor risk: what do you think will happen to the shares if
Bill Gates as much as coughs in public? He's not getting any younger...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Commission missed three KEY things
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 12:28 PM EST
1) did not stop bundling onto PCs and the resulting extension of the monopoly.

2) did not put a per-day fine for failing to disclose the interfaces. $100M/day
would be a fair number, that would keep M$ from stalling for months/years on
end.

3) Luxembourg? Gates can literally buy the country now. The commissioners
failed to build in a contingency if Gates comes in, screws with the markets,
devalues the Euro (yes, he COULD) through stock manipulations on european
markets, and just tries to wait out the commission.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Here's Where MS Shoots Themselves In Both Feet
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 12:34 PM EST
The whole world is watching an unabashed abusive monopoly deal with
its adjudicated legal sins.

Will MS accept responibility and move forward? Or will it act out?

The MS PR machine is huge and expensive and responsive to a select few.
The initial bluster and implicit threats might yield to reason, but that
would require a degree of maturity that MS has never possessed.

MS appears to want more fighting. Do they expect end user suits over
security flaws? Do they expect the ill will their behavior generates? Do they
expect anyone to trust them? How many friends can their money buy?
Poor little rich boys!

[ Reply to This | # ]

WMP = DRM = $$$
Authored by: jez_f on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 12:38 PM EST

Over the next few years there will be a lot of competition for differing standards of digital rights management. With WMP sitting on lots of ppls pcs MS gains a natural advantage in this field.

Which means not only would MS get 10% of the cost of every pc they would also get a percentage of every song/movie/game played on their pcs, along with their (proprietary) formats getting more market share.

Allowing PC companies to bundle their own (or partners) media players will open this market up to much more competition

MS tried the bundling trick with IE. If they were not a monopolistic abusive company they could produce these products separately and change more for them. Ramming them down the consumers throat weather they want it or not is where the problem lies


ps, the best way to force people to move away from IE is for all sympathetic webmasters to write pages that don't display right or even crash IE, while being valid HTML

[ Reply to This | # ]

What if...
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 12:41 PM EST
...they don't pay the fine? Then I guess Europe would ban all Microsoft
products. I'd /love/ to see that happen! :)

[ Reply to This | # ]

The EU Commission's Microsoft Decision
Authored by: soronlin on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 01:03 PM EST
As I understand it (IANAL) the facts presented by the EU constitute a crime
under US law - leveraging a monopoly in restraint of international trade.

The facts presented are that Microsoft's actions caused a reduction in trade
enjoyed by the other Media Player companies.

That appears to be an offense under section 2 of the Sherman act.

Will the Microsoft Overseers act? Don't hold your breath.

[ Reply to This | # ]

TuxRocks mentions new filing
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 01:03 PM EST
TuxRocks mentions this new filing:

18 - Reply by Novell Inc to response to [2-1] motion to
dismiss (blk) [Entry date 03/23/04]

Does anyone have got their hands on that one already?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Our IP rights in Europe
Authored by: Mark Grosskopf on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 01:40 PM EST
H-mmmm...

Me thinks there is a bit of the IP flag waving/wrapping going on here and
something rotton in Redmond

It has a peculiar odor, very similar to the flag waving/wrapping that occured in
the Early 50's.

It went under the banner of extreme patriotism, often known as
"McCarthyism", after its superadvocate. If I remember, correctly,
wasn't the major catch phrase "Are you for us, or agin' us?" No room
for judgement here, black and white, which is it? Ol' Joe took care of the
judgement for us.

MG

[ Reply to This | # ]

What about Thailands XP Lite
Authored by: DBLR on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 01:45 PM EST
Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith said {Under this interpretation the WMP-free version of Windows "is not Windows" (i.e. not WindowsTM). "Windows today is a state of the art operating system for state of the art PCs", and Windows lite will be an inferior version foisted on Microsoft and the world by the interfering Commission.}

Well what about the XP lite they are selling {or are going to sell) in Thailand is that not a legal Windows (i.e. WindowsTM)??? Oh I forgot it was Microsoft's idea to sell a version of XP Lite (they claim it will work with several missing features). But when the EU tell them to do there OS with out WMP it's wrong and it will not work properly! What a bunch of hypocrites, then again we are talking about MS!

Charles

---
The Truth hurts = a major problem for SCOG.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Better Mousetrap
Authored by: TheElf on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 01:48 PM EST
- So you build a better mousetrap
- You sell it to the stores

- MousetrapSoft has a 95% Market Share
- Your mousetrap is better

- MousetrapSoft has a contract with all the stores
- Their MousetrapXP is the only one the store can display on their shelves
- The stores' salespeople are not allowed to promote mousetraps of any brand
other than MousetrapSoft
- All other mousetraps must be kept in a storeroom, out of sight of customers

- But, you've got a better mousetrap
- It's sitting in that storeroom
- It's not selling
- It must be your fault


? EU decision & SCO ?

The European Commission has concluded, after a five-year investigation, that
Microsoft Corporation broke European Union competition law by leveraging its
near monopoly in the market for PC operating systems (OS) onto the markets for
work group server operating systems (1) and for media players(2). Because the
illegal behaviour is still ongoing, the Commission has ordered Microsoft to
disclose to competitors, within 120 days, the interfaces(3) required for their
products to be able to 'talk' with the ubiquitous Windows OS.


(3) The interfaces do not concern the Windows source code as this is not
necessary to achieve the development of interoperable products. The interfaces
are the hooks at the edge of the source code which allow one product to talk to
another.

? Does This Not Strike Directly At The SCO API/ABI Allegations ?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Abuse of copyright = loss of copyright?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 01:52 PM EST
AFAIK, the remedy against someone who is abusing copyright law is that they LOSE
the copyrights.

So if MSFT is abusing their copyrights to force people out of the marketplace,
they can lose any right to sue for infringement, and be forced to reveal their
information.

And there can be forcible licensing of interfaces ... if you get too big and too
critical. It's happening to the auto industry and their diagnostic chip
interfaces - they are being used to force people into the dealers for servicing,
and the indie mechanics have sued and won on the grounds that the secret
interface codes are a restraint of trade.

[ Reply to This | # ]

I think Microsoft fears a precedent
Authored by: Captain on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 02:16 PM EST
After all, they have been bundling more than just media player in the past. This
decision will mean more fines and more debundling in the future. It will be
interesting to see the outcome of this. I think the EU will move forward.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Scummy WTO and IP strike again.
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 02:19 PM EST
Maybe the Microsoft issue will cause government all around the world to take a
closer look at the ridiculous IP abuses that are going on legally right now
(tradmarked seeds for poor farmers, no legal generic alternative for AIDS drugs
in poor countries, and on and on); and how Global Capitalization the way it's
working right now not only screws over people (citizens, voters, comsumers) it
also limits the authority of governments over a company's behavior taking place
in their own countries.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Meanwhile, over in Minnesota...
Authored by: bete noire on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 02:20 PM EST
Documents come to light showing even more henious behaviour by the M$opoly:

http://www.commondrea ms.org/headlines04/0324-02.htm

(original article from New York Times)

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT - British court document archives?
Authored by: N. on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 02:33 PM EST
Does anyone know of any official websites dedicated to court filing archives in
Britain?

Just wondering...


---
N.
(Recent convert to Linux)

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT: Outsourcing American Jobs
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 02:37 PM EST
Forwarded, FYI. This is a good example of effective networking.



Subject: Opportunity with the Washington Post

Sent: Wednesday, March 24, 2004 9:31 AM

IEEE Members,

IEEE-USA had an opportunity to sit down with a reporter from the Washington
Post yesterday afternoon. The reporter is going to be doing a major story
on outsourcing, and was looking for interesting angles to report on. We
discussed the state of the engineering profession, and what we thought
ought to be done about it. But what she really wants is the names of some
local engineers who could give her, on record, their unique perspective on
the offshoring of jobs and the job picture faced by engineers. She is
especially interested in engineers who have urged their children not to go
into engineering and individuals from the DC area (broadly defined) who
have lost their jobs due to offshoring.

If any of you know of anyone who fits either of these two descriptions, and
who would be willing to talk to the Post, please let me know. The reporter
was just starting her research, so we probably have a few days to get
together a few witnesses.

As is the case with all press reports, IEEE-USA can not be certain how your
stories will be used, nor even if the article will ever be written. But
the reporter asked good questions and seems to be sincerely interested in
reporting on the problems being faced by engineers. Because the Post is
read by most policy makers and opinion leaders in Washington, this is a
great opportunity to raise the profile of our efforts on offshoring, and to
influence the policy debate.

Please feel free to pass this message on to anyone you think would be
interested. Don't limit yourself to what you think of as the DC area. If
we can find an engineer with a really good story in PA or WV, or even NY,
the Post may use them. We just need a few members who have an interesting
story to tell.

Anyone who wants to volunteer can contact either me or Chris McManes.

Chris can be reached at c.mcmanes@ieee.org.

Thanks for your help. Please contact me if you have any questions about
this effort.

Russ
Russell T. Harrison
Legislative Representative - Grassroots Affairs
IEEE-USA
(202) 530-8326

 

[ Reply to This | # ]

sour grapes
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 02:44 PM EST
DiDio said Novell must back its rhetoric with action:

http://www.technewsworld.com/perl/story/33205.html

While I agree on this, it all appears like a feeble stab in the back. She never
said SCO must back its claims with proof.

[ Reply to This | # ]

EE Times Begins To Speak Up
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 02:55 PM EST
The EE Times is a longtime, respected weekly. They have resisted publishing
much about the SCOG or Microsoft attacks on Free/Open Source. They
clearly respect their advertisers.

Here is an EET link about Microsoft's current prospects:
http://www.eetimes.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=18400876

Here is their take on the evolving EU Commission situation:
http://www.eetimes.com/sys/news/showArticle.jhtml;
jsessionid=ILWTRZBVWTKAIQSNDBCSKHQ?articleID=18401546

Their readers build, purchase, and integrate major systems and networks.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Update from Minneapolis on Microsoft and Go Corp
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 03:18 PM EST
Check out the following article by NYTime's John Markoff on the latest developments in the Microsoft suit in Minnesota: Lawyer outlines Microsoft control tactics. They mention a letter directly from Bill Gates to the Intel CEO about dropping support for Go Corp.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The EU Commission's Microsoft Decision
Authored by: Net66 on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 05:50 PM EST
I applaud the EU Commission's decision in the case against Microsoft regarding
Windows media player and non-Microsoft work group servers. Microsoft is of
course a convicted monopolist in the US and now also in Europe. In the US case
the Department of Justice (DOJ) had originally ordered That Microsoft Be broken
up into two companies, one for the OS and a second company for applications. If
this decision had Been carried out the world would not be faced with the
problems we now have with a global corporation continuing its monopolistic ways.
Unfortunately Microsoft was able to overturn that decision on appeal. This
ability of Microsoft to "beat the system" through the appeals courts
should not be underestimated. They will certainly attempt the same thing in the
courts of Europe. Microsoft will ask the European Court of First Instance (EC
court of appeals) to suspend the EU Commission's order while the case is being
appealed. This appeal process process will take years. If Microsoft is able to
suspend the decision during this time they will win. They will win because
before the appeal process is over, the next version on windows will be out and
Microsoft will ensure that media player will not be able to be removed without
"breaking the OS".

For those of us who remember the "browser wars" we know the method of
operation (MOR) Microsoft uses. This pattern is continuing and will continue as
long as it works. If Microsoft is allowed to win these decisions where will it
all lead to? One can envision a world where one global corporation, Microsoft,
will controll 95% of the desktops of the world. This controll will extent to the
music we listen to, the movies, we watch, the software we download, and more.
Using laws such as the Digital Millennium copyright act (DMCA) Microsoft will be
become the "big Brother" of the internet and our computers. Microsoft
will of course not stop here, they will next move on to controll internet search
engines and companies like Google will go the way of Netscape. One can be sure
they will continue even after that and destroy any other field they choose to
enter. They will do this by simply tying software in the field they wish do
dominate to the OS software, the same way they did with internet explorer and
now media player. They will not only claim the the software is an intergrated
part of the OS and can not be removed. They will deliberately design it this
way to ensure the OS will not function without it. For these reasons it is
imperative that the European Court of First Instance (EC court of appeals)
ensures the two decisions the EU Commission has made are NOT suspended during
the appeal process The two Decisions being 1. They have 90 days to offer a
version of its Windows OS without Windows Media Player and 2. They have 120
days to disclose to competitors the interfaces required for their products to
be able to communicate with the Windows OS. These decisions should take effect
within the 90 day and 120 day timeframe imposed by the EU Commission and not be
extended.

We should also not underestimate the power and influence this company has.
With its hundreds of lawyers, billions of dollars of cash reserves and a
cooperate culture that will go to any length to crush any competition, Microsoft
is a formidable opponent for anyone including the EU. Microsoft has shown it
will use any method, economic, political, legal , or illegal to achieve it ends.
It will take courage and discipline on the part of of Europe to do the right
thing and stop this behavior. This courage has already been displayed by Mario
Monti the EU Commissioner who refused to back down despite enormous Pressure
from Microsoft. Let us hope that the courts of Europe are able to do the same.
Something the US courts were unable to do.

We have to thank websites like Grocklaw for sheading light on things others
would prefer we not see.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The EU Commission's Microsoft Decision
Authored by: Melanie Hollands on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 06:37 PM EST
The Microsoft situation is low odds negative for the stock price, but at the
margin maybe a longer-term negative.

The rulings on both the fine and source code were transparently stupid and may
not hold up. But there is a chance they will since Europeans have been known in
the past to make transparently stupid, self destructive economic rulings)
remember France's 35 hour week?) that it will be upheld. If it does hold up,
that would require Microsoft to detonate a very large blast. I don't see it
getting down to that, although there are a lot of tremors that may develop
between now and the resolution.

A colleague of mine was recently in Orlando at the MBS small business get
together. (Still not sure who in Redmond truly understands why they plunked down
$2 billion for this part of the business.) ANyway, aparrently there were a bunch
of industry and sell side analysts there. It's amusing to vizualize the industry
analysts hanging out in the press/analyst area rappin' to one another about golf
handicaps or doing other things rather than getting out and chatting with
end-users.

Cheers

[ Reply to This | # ]

News: Yankee group "Independent"
Authored by: kh on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 06:48 PM EST
Yankee Independently Pits Windows TCO vs. Linux TCO !!!!

On the heels of several Microsoft-sponsored studies evaluating the total cost of ownership (TCO) of Windows vs. Linux, The Yankee Group has performed its own independent research on the same topic. And the findings are somewhat similar: Linux provides smaller companies with customized vertical applications or who have no legacy networks with better TCO than Windows.

http:// www.microsoft-watch.com/ article2/ 0,4248,1553620,00.asp?kc=MWRSS02129TX1K0000535 Aaaargh I give up trying to get the link working.

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT, Historical, Funny: Old SCO ad.
Authored by: Chris Cogdon on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 07:04 PM EST
I had picked up a workmate's 'Linux Journal' magazine and was reading through a few articles. I found an advertisement, in the 'New Products' section, for SCO Linux. I thought "What the...?" until I looked at the magazine's date: February 2003. Ah. Here's the ad. (It's on page 68):

SCO Linux 4.0

In its first release since dropping the Caldera name, the SCO Group announced the availability of SCO Linux 4.0. SCO Linux 4.0 is based on UnitedLinux 1.0, designed for mission-critical business applications. SCO Linux also comes with software, support and services available through more than 16,000 resellers for small- to medium-sized businesses and replicated branch sites. Four editions of SCO Lionux 4.0 are available- Base, Classic, Business and Enterprise - each coming with a one-year support plan.

Amusing stuff. That one-year support plan is sure good value, eh? :)

[ Reply to This | # ]

The EU Commission's Microsoft Decision
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 08:18 PM EST
Dear Groklaw,

I would like to explain some political background for
current events.

Please follow these facts:

1. The EU foreign policy is actually the French foreign policy
(France + Belgium is a team) /* this fact can be proven
by recent history events */
2. Major players in the EU (France, Germany...) did not
approve US Adminstrations descision to go to war.
therefor:
3. The USD$$$ made to be low by the current US commerce policy. /* Means that
customers will prefere to buy stuff
in USA then in EU == loss of buisiness to the EU */
also means that there is a EURO financial bubble growing
might explode and EURO becomes .. well .. worthless.
4. EU wants financial revenge against US /* recently some
negotiations failed between financial officials of US end EU */

My personal conclusions - from the facts:
1. Micro$oft bundling a (buggy)media player since Win 3.1
2. Micro$oft bundling a (buggy and ugly)web browser since Win 95.
3. Probable answer to the question "Why now?" is in Fact 4.
That will also explain the high fine.

Outcome to our (FOSS) comunity:
Good 1: Micro$oft lost credability(again) in the face
of it's customers in the EU.
Good 2: Micro$oft will have less money to sponsor big deals
with goverments and corporations trying to "defect" to Linux.(and will
have less money to give SCO)
Good 3: It's all over mainstream media! (bad publicity for MS is good for FOSS -
"consumer trust" comes in mind)

Bad 1: IMHO it is an attack on ALL OF THE USA through MS
even if i don't like them and use Debian SID myself.
Bad 2: MS has $51Bill in the bank - they will be left
with $50.3Bill - not so damaging.
Bad 3: MS will think of something to make users come and
download their Mplayer from the web.

regards,
boris.
boris<<<<a$$t>>>>goldenmyth.co.il

[ Reply to This | # ]

The issue is "OS"
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 10:12 PM EST
Windows is *not* and never has been an operating system. Period. The same can
be said for GNU/Linux.

The windowing system is simply a layer added over or onto the OS in question.

Therefore M$ saying it in no way can remove its media player or its browser or
its whatever from the operating system is a load of hogwash.

krp

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • The issue is "OS" - Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, March 25 2004 @ 03:18 AM EST
The EU Commission's Microsoft Decision
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 10:27 PM EST

"Dominant companies have a special responsibility to ensure that the way they do business doesn't prevent competition on the merits and does not harm consumers and innovation" said European Competition Commissioner Mario Monti.

Indeed they do. There is no privilege without responsibility. Microsoft simply believe that their profits gained through various levels and types of monopolies are somehow the greatest achievement in the history of humanity and should therefore be protected. Nice to see that Europeans aren't falling for that crap.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why SCO is saying that Groklaw is IBM funded!
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 10:27 PM EST
I was at IBM linux site today. I am a registered developer there. Some how I
ended up on LINUX LINKS, among all the links to various linux links, it lists
GROKLAW as a linux news site! wham! All SCOundrels think AHA! see funded by
IBM.
Anyway have a look, it is pleasent for me to find one of my favourite site at
IBM.
http://www-1.ibm.com/linux/links/index.shtml

[ Reply to This | # ]

First post
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 11:05 PM EST
Whoops, well a bit late I suppose

[ Reply to This | # ]

Nothing new here - nothing will happen
Authored by: unseen-enigma on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 11:12 PM EST
The USA generally either ignores or forces the hand of foreign converments when
the intrests of their businesses are threatened. It is highly unlikely the fine
or new policies for windows in the EU will be enforced. The 'engaging' of the
actions of another national entity due to their own justice system either
militarily, or economically is just plain wrong.

As a quite parellel example i will raise the softwood lumber dispute between the
us and canada. They illegally charge import charges on our processed lumber and
give it to their companies. International courts rule its illegal. 2 years
later people here start to notice the usa is importing raw logs. Yet another
great example of the worst possible thing to the us economomy. Open markets.
Microsofts monopoly is far open as the EU has concluded.

This will probably be Bush's new war target so he can get re-elected. He will
accuse them of harboring terrorists or having weopons of mass destruction (which
wow they actually do unlike iraq).

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft Decision?
Authored by: icebarron on Wednesday, March 24 2004 @ 11:44 PM EST
After following the dots for many days now, I can see the connections starting
to form on the boundaries of no less than something as nebulous as IP Laws and
Rights. In almost every domain on the web, there are links to law firms and
informational sites about protecting thoughts. How utterly insane can one group
of people get before calm rational thought can come to bear on this lack of
understanding the digital age. If anyone is really interested in finding rhyme
or reason, for the SCO Follies, the connection between, M$ and other
companies sucking on the underbelly of this species we call the Internet, one
does not have to wander very far off the beaten path...for
example...

http://draves.org/infosoc/mirrors/ipnot/#ref1

Here you will find
calm rational thought, completely backed up by reason and copious examples for
clarification. If anyone is still left wandering what this is all about. Think
tax on brain power. If I register my thoughts in a digital form and you happen
to have the same thought in exactly the same sequences that I do, even if it
varies quite a bit (by one or two words or more) you are infringing on my rights
unless you can prove that you thought of it first. (Sorry most software is
capable of time stamping…oh I’m sorry clocks can be tinkered with!) If any one
is interested, I will have a list of “IP” addresses available though it is
hardly needful considering that “Google is your friend.”

I will forever be
grateful to PJ and Groklaw for starting this conversation. I will be a continued
avid reader here for as long as she wishes to publish. I will also be indebted
to Linus Torvolds and all the other free thinkers from those who first used
crude script in mud tablets, to those that created this personal digital
universe. It’s no wonder that the leadership of our country is called into doubt
as well as our reputation as civil humans’ co-habitating this ball of mud and
water we call earth.

Read one or two pages of the link in this post. I hope I
am not the only one here who has ever taken the time to read it. For that would
be a shame…
And last but not least thank you David Christy Founder, IP Not!
Foundation for your contribution. I doubt anyone could ever accuse you of being
dishonest or a communist criminal for your thoughts…

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  • IP-not - Authored by: numtek on Thursday, March 25 2004 @ 07:16 AM EST
If MS must release interfaces, what does this mean to WINE, et al?
Authored by: Night Flyer on Thursday, March 25 2004 @ 12:26 AM EST
First, I need to say that my kids complain that, on Linux, they cannot play all
the games that their friends play on Microsoft Windows. Thus, I am interested
in the WINE project being more user friendly and in it being able to run
essentially any MS Windows program.

I presume MS would ask for an non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with anyone that it
releases interface information to. I presume MS does not want the general
public to know where the "hooks" are (ie: this might aid virus writers
somehow).

Knowing that the open source community invites input from a wide range of
programmers, how would we get an NDA agreement. Also, since the source code of
Linux is available, I see that MS would have a problem with its interface
"hooks" being open for all.

I expect there to be real resistance from MS here.

None-the-less, I'm on the side of the EU on this one, (in terms of MS making
interface information more easily available). As a by product, maybe it'll make
MS write more secure code.

----------------
My Clan MOtto: Veritas Vincit: Truth Conquers



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Completely OT: Microsoft
Authored by: PeterB on Thursday, March 25 2004 @ 02:59 AM EST
Anybody here played the game Deus Ex? I don't think it's possible to get it to
run on Linux systems.

For those in the know, Microsoft == Page Industries? It's a scary thought...
but in trying to take control of the Internet and peoples' personal data,
they're definitely heading that way.

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The EU Commission's Microsoft Decision
Authored by: algorithm on Thursday, March 25 2004 @ 04:14 AM EST
"(2) A media player is a software product that is able to play back music
and video content over the Internet."

I think that's an oversimplification. The importance of a media player is wider
that that; it is able to play "music and video content" at any
context, making it sound like it only plays from the internet understimates the
magnitude of the risk of monopoly on its field.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The EU Commission's Microsoft Decision
Authored by: Alastair on Thursday, March 25 2004 @ 06:35 AM EST

I notice that CNET News have got an open letter to the EU on their site, written by the House of Representatives' International Relations committee.

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We should support this guy
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, March 25 2004 @ 06:44 AM EST
Great article here about Microsoft being unlikely to change their ways.

"Microsoft will probably respond by raising prices on the software it sells in the EU to compensate for the additional risk of fines in the future," said Brian Behlendorf, founder of CollabNet Inc., a Brisbane, California-based open-source software and consulting company. He said requiring Microsoft to sell operating systems without a media player won't thwart the company, and he's asked regulators to strip Microsoft of its patents.

Go Brian !!

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The WSJ Unleashes Pro MS Attack on EU
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, March 25 2004 @ 06:46 AM EST
EU Unleashes Attack on Microsoft
Reference: The Wall Street Journal, Thursday 25 March
2004, page A2
By: James Kanter in Brussels
Don Clark in San Francisco
and John R. Wilke in Washington

In a continued barrage of half truth and false innuendos
The Wall Street Journal continues it attack against anyone
that opposes Microsoft's continued monopoly status of
desktop software and Microsoft's attempts to take control
of all information flow especially including streaming
video.

Monti Leaves lasting Mark on Business
Reference: The Wall Street Journal, Thursday 25 March
2004, page A2
By: Brandon Mitchener and James Kanter

In a continued trashing of Monti the same shrills utter
the same trash finding fault with the EU attempt to rain
the world most obnoxious monopoly.

One may respond to the two fine pro Microsoft articles by
faxing letters to the editor at 212-416-2255 or by e-mail
at wsj.ltrs@wsj.com but I have to add in sincerity that
with the level of obnoxious bigotry shown against anyone
that is not radical pro Microsoft I sincerely believe that
any form of opposition to Microsoft's World Dominance will
be viewed as the ravings of long haired crazed hippies of
the Charles Mansom variety.

If the above two articles were not enough a glance at page
B2 reveals:

Microsoft Move into Cellphone Worries Some in Telecom
By: Unknown
James Kanter in Brusseks as a contributor

Strange thing about these unknown authors who for some
reason place a negative title in relation to Microsoft on
the article and then go on to conclude that Microsoft has
every right to dominate that communicator sector by
leveraging the Windows operating system into complete
control of world communication and information flow.

These articles and the continued strong support of
Microsoft in it attempted conquest of world domination
leads to the question did Microsoft buy The Wall Street
Journal? If not how did Microsoft manage to corrupt a
world class newspaper into being such a strong supporter
of lies, scams, and out right theft of other's property?

[Again as always these comments are brought to you in
violation of Gorklaw new posting policies.]

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OT: RIAA switching to Linux
Authored by: phrostie on Thursday, March 25 2004 @ 06:53 AM EST
http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=14946

---
=====
phrostie
Oh I have slipped the surly bonds of DOS
and danced the skies on Linux silvered wings.
http://www.freelists.org/webpage/snafuu

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Nothing will change, Microsoft will go on as before.
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, March 25 2004 @ 09:18 AM EST
Maybe I'm too pessimistic but nothing will change because of this ruling. M$
will go on doing what they do, the only way to defeat this is to undermine them
- move over to other OS's, use other office suites. Just don't give them the
pleasure of taking your money.

Open source software is to be applauded not for its cost but for the ethos that
drives it, freedom. Freedom to do as you choose to do, freedom to use your
computer as you see fit. This choice should be rightly constrained by the law
not by a provider of software.

M$ has shown repeatedly that by chucking enough money at the law you can defeat
it, or at least water down the impact of being found guilty to the point where
it's worthless.

I love my freedom and I am fiercely protective of it, I use GNU/Linux software
to better enable me to protect my freedom of choice, but I also need laws and
help from others to protect those freedoms for me - it's at this point that I
become pessimistic. Those that are supposed to protect me and my rights can be
bought or threatened into silence. The voices that do speak out are being
drowned out by the shouting of the big money players. We have to shout together,
at the same time and repeatedly in order to be heard. Groklaw helps us to shout
(thanks Pamela) but we must do more, I will not be dictated to by any
corporation, I have a government for that.

Rant over, at least publicly, thank you to everyone who contributes to open
source software and to this site. You all entertain and inform me and I would
not be without you. (Sentimentality over as well)

Steve Brown, lurker.

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The Inquirer
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, March 25 2004 @ 12:44 PM EST

here

Note that we can easily use the US representatives' logic against them. For example: Well, if the opium was grown in a country where it's legal to grow, and it was processed there, and merely shipped to the United States in a pure, Schedule A form, then shouldn't the United States back off and allow sale and use here? All of the relevant "design decisions" happened in the country where it was legal.

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Brussels' muscle won't kill tech
Authored by: jdg on Thursday, March 25 2004 @ 01:14 PM EST
CNN Money just (12:49 EST) filed this story:

Headline: Brussels' muscle won't kill tech

"Claims that EU sanctions against Microsoft will stifle innovation and hurt
the U.S. are sheer folly."

see:
http://money.cnn.com/2004/03/25/technology/techinvestor/lamonica/

a few key phrases

- The EU accomplished something Wednesday that the U.S. government failed to do
in 2001: it issued a meaningful punishment to Microsoft.


It's tough to see how the EU's ruling -- which could thwart Microsoft's ability
to bundle new products into Windows -- would slow innovation.

and

In turn, if Microsoft no longer can rely on bundling, isn't it reasonable to
argue that Microsoft would need to work harder in order to build a product
that's truly better than the competition? If anything, Microsoft would need to
be more innovative, not less.

---
SCO is trying to appropriate the "commons"; don't let them

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The good thing is....
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, March 25 2004 @ 05:48 PM EST
...that the EU seem to know the difference between an API and Source Code, which in another case a certain Mr.McBride has failed to comprehend. The EU ruling indicates that the API spec needs to be available, but there is no need to disclose source. Now, the Convicted Monopolist, arguably the most incompetent software company ever, does not understand this either. They licence some of their source code to various people, to allow them to make software that runs under their vile, bug-ridden OS. Why? All that is needed, ever, is the API spec. The reason is of course that M$ have been unable to correctly and unambiguously docuemt their APIs because of a seriously flawed development method, inspired by a Chief Software Architect wit a seriously flawed personality, so to allow people to work round the undocumented bugs and features they have to see the code. The EU has seen the sheer folly of this method of software development, which results in the huge number of buggy programs that run on the buggy OS. It is contrary to the very basics of good software development to work that way.

It seems that the EU are forcing M$ to properly and fully document the APIs, then there is no reason, ever, why anyone will need access to the source. That is how it should be for proper software development. We may see better programs as a result, in a year or so.

Same for SCO, the Unix API definitions have been published in the manuals since about 1970, and many of them have never changed, because highly competent people got them right in the beginning or soon afterwards. I used to do some Unix programming around 1982-88, on Version 7 and System 3, it is exactly the same today under Solaris, Linux, BSD, SCO etc as far as the main APIs are concerned. The API spec, which happenes to be correctly and fully defined in most Unix systems (unlike every single version of Windows), does not reveal source code. I have never seen Unix source, and hardly any Linux source (no time...), but on the rare occasions that I do programming, I can write something that when loaded attaches itself correctly to the APIs. (OK technically the linker/loader and kernel do the work but you know what I mean)

I can't do that on Windoze because the API definitions are a mixture of vapourware, sheer disinformation, errors and mumbo-jumbo that it is well-nigh impossible. I am told by one of the masochists who earns his living doing windows programming that the calloc() routine, for example, a part of the API set of every Unix and Windows, which is supposed to return a block of cleared memory, in fact returns a block of memory containing garbage in certain versions of Windows, but where is the documentation? (Great security hole, you get a block of memory with who knows what still stored in it from someone else's process, and the cause of many bugs because the programmer may legitimately have depended on the block being cleared!)

Again, you don't need the source of Windows to see this, you simply need a properly documented API.

So, the EU understands what M$ and SCO, supposedly experts in their field, have failed to comprehend. They know what an API is, and that it needs to be specified properly, and in so doing it bears no relation to any disclosure of source, because it is purely and simply an interface definition.

Note that all proper engineering (as opposed to hacking) in every field imaginable is based on rigorous interface definitions. You do not usually, and never need to, actually know how the other guy's thing works, as long as you know how to connect to it, what stress you can safely apply, all that sort of thing. Most engineering endeavours work (bridges carry traffic, buildings don't fall over, in both cases because the steelwork made by one company fits to the foundations made by another, and the nuts and bolts from yet another, the numerous avionics boxes in an aircraft talk to each other reliably, although some of the manufacturers truly hate each other (Try Ho------- and Th---- for example), the spark plug made by one company fits the engine made by another, Ethernet and TCP/IP work (quite well, actually), a USB scanner by Canon plugs into a laptop by Dell without grumbling, etc...... All because the interfaces were defined. Yet, the steelwork company has not disclosed to the concrete gang the secrets of their welded joints for example, only where to put the fixing bolts at the interface. So it should be, and must be in serious professional programming circles, where modularity is a vital ingredient of quality.

If Sir Bill can't document his APIs and has to show source instead, and SCOundrel McBride can't distinguish between a publisehd API, a trade secret and source, then it shows how backward and immature the cowboy elements of the proprietary software industry really are, when their comprehension of an API can be surpassed by a bunch of beaurocrats and politicians.

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Microsoft is not alone
Authored by: markus on Friday, March 26 2004 @ 02:02 AM EST

Microsoft is not the only company paying huge fines.

In 1999 the Swiss Pharma company Hoffmann-La Roche was fined $500 millions for price fixing of vitamines. (See http://www.usdoj.gov/opa/p r/1999/May/196at.htm)

Europe is not the only place where foreign companies have to pay huge fines: The french bank Credit Lyonnais is facing a $600 million fine. (See http://www.forbes. com/2003/07/10/cx_tm_0710video1.html)

Markus

---
Markus Baertschi, Switzerland

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EU action against Microsoft not painful enough
Authored by: Melanie Hollands on Saturday, March 27 2004 @ 12:05 PM EST
Details of the European Union's €497 million fine (around $610 million USD)
against Microsoft Corp. for continual anti-competitive practices, some of which
had been leaked earlier this week, were made official on Wednesday. I consider
the ruling a non-event in practice against Microsoft, the company, and a
low-odds negative -- but maybe a negative for MSFT the stock -- over the long
term.

The fine imposed by the EU isn't sufficient. The EU made a point by ruling
against the company, yet it failed to impose a real financial penalty on the
company. By a real penalty, I mean a fine of the order of $5 billion, not $600
million, which is only around 2 percent of revenues and about 0.5 percent of
cash on the balance sheet.

The key is the message the ruling sends to EU governments. I would expect this
to escalate their interest in considering alternative solutions - in particular,
open source solutions.

While the EU fine has no practical impact on Microsoft financially, EU members
now have an implicit mandate to look at alternatives. This will allow many
companies, not just open source companies, to offer and actually sell
alternative, competitive products. Microsoft will need to respond to the
increase in competition. Otherwise, there could be many more Munich/SUSE-like
deals throughout Europe.

http://management.itmanagersjournal.com/article.pl?sid=04/03/26/1956226

Cheers

Melanie


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